East Asian Languages and Cultures | Literary Chinese 1 (undergraduate section)
C306 | 19128 | Eno, Robert


This course open to undergraduates only.
This course meets with EALC-C506.

P: EALC-C202 equivalent reading proficiency or permission of
instructor.

Classical Chinese is one of the world's great literary languages.
More great works of art may have been written in Classical Chinese
than in any other language. Part of the reason these works are great
is because they were written in a language so plastic that when
Western explorers first asked masters of Chinese prose about the
grammar of their language, the universal response was, “Grammar?
There isn't any!” Sometimes it seems that way. Verbs become nouns
from one line to the next, adjectives change to verbs at the
slightest provocation, prepositions become predicates, interjections
become subjects, and just when you think everything is sorted out,
numbers change into adverbs and a common conjunction turns out to be
the author's younger brother. But somehow, once you begin to catch
on to its tricks, Classical Chinese becomes transformed from a
bewildering collection of ideographs into a literary language more
powerful than anyone raised in the narrow world of alphabets and
unambiguous syntax could imagine.

C306/C506 is a first step in mastering this remarkable language.
Using original literary works, we confront the most basic problems
of vocabulary and syntax. Students begin learning how to coax from
texts their underlying grammatical structures and to identify the
easy regularities of the language in order to focus on writers'
dynamic use of ambiguity.

A sequence course, Literary Chinese II (C307/C507) is scheduled to
be offered during the Spring 2010 term.

Text. There will be online readings, glosses, explanations, and
exercises.

Prerequisites. A grade of C or better in second-year Modern Chinese
or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor.